For sanity’s sake, keep bedroom as clean and clutter-free as po

Has your bedroom become the hub of activity in your home? Many of us use this private space for reading, exercising, watching TV, eating and working on the computer. This is the one room in the house where we’re supposed to relax, and it seems there’s clutter everywhere. What can we do to reclaim our space? Use my "five things or five minutes" plan, and you can do one or two of the following:

  • Clear off the dresser and nightstand.
  • Make the bed, and the room immediately looks more organized.
  • Organize papers that are scattered around the computer.
  • Put reading material in the nightstand drawer.
  • Move exercise equipment to a corner of the room where you’re less likely to trip over it in the middle of the night.

Just a few minutes a day can make a big difference, and you’ll probably sleep a lot better. — Heloise
DEAR HELOISE: Can I wash my down comforter? — Karol Brown, via e-mail

You may be able to. Check the washing instructions, since most down-filled comforters can be washed in a front-loading machine on a gentle cycle. Top-loaders will not work because they have agitators. Then put it into the dryer on a low-heat cycle. Stop the drying cycle several times to fluff and readjust the comforter to allow for even drying.

To make sure the comforter is completely dry, run it through a second low-heat cycle. After removing it, if possible, spread it out and let it air-dry on a clothesline or over a shower rod for a day before putting it back on the bed, or turn it several times while on the bed. To prevent mildew caused by trapped moisture, steer clear of storing down comforters in plastic bags or plastic boxes. — Heloise

DEAR HELOISE: I take a golf towel that has a hook on it and hang it from the towel bar in our powder room. I have two kids (ages 4 and 8) — they can dry their hands, and I don’t have to go pick up the towel off the floor. I also have one on the oven door to keep them and my husband from using my dish towel to dry their hands. — Noreen Roach, Davie, Fla.


Send a money-saving or timesaving hint to Heloise, P.O. Box 795000, San Antonio, TX 78279-5000, or you can fax it to 210-HELOISE or e-mail it to

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